AIA Tours: cruise

Cruising the Mekong River

Tour Dates: Monday, December 2, 2019 to Sunday, December 15, 2019 (14 days)

Tour Leader(s): Joyce C. White ,

Explore the wonders of tropical Indochina on our luxurious tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Mekong River. Begin with two nights in Ho Chi Minh City (still known by many as Saigon), a busy and dynamic metropolis that exudes energy and buzzes with activity. Then embark on a seven-night Mekong River cruise aboard the beautiful Mekong Princess, an exclusive riverboat with only 12 suites, elegant French colonial appointments, an ultra-shallow draft that allows us to access the nooks and crannies of the river, and all the modern comforts.

As you cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, visit magnificent Buddhist and Hindu temples, observe floating markets bursting with colorful produce, and delve into the everyday lives of those who call the Mekong River home. Enjoy an enriching series of presentations and discussions by accompanying AIA lecturer and host Joyce White, who has worked in Southeast Asian archaeology since the mid-1970s and currently directs a field-based archaeological research program that focuses on the history and prehistory of the Mekong Basin. Conclude with two glorious days to explore Angkor’s world-famous Khmer temples, the largest religious monument in the world. Limited to 22 participants.

Aboard the all-suite, 12-cabin Mekong Princess


 

Program Rates per person Descriptions Double Single
Saigon Suite (main deck) Four suites (101-104), approximately 235 sq. ft., with French balcony $8,995 $15,295
Apsara Suite (upper deck) Four suites (205-208), approximately 235 sq. ft. with French balcony $9,995 $16,995
 

Tonle Suite (upper deck)

 

Two suites (203 & 204), approximately 305 sq. ft. with French balcony $10,995   —-
Angkor Suite (upper deck) Two suites (201 & 202), approximately 495 sq. ft. with French balcony plus private veranda, complimentary laundry service, and evening canapés $12,995

 

Map of this Itinerary

Ha Long Bay, part of the pre-tour optional extension. © Andrew Crump

Cai Rang Floating Market. © Benjamin Vander Steen

Entrance to the Ben Thanh Market. © ntt

Gateway to Angkor Thom. © Christine Zenino

Royal Palace complex at Phnom Penh. © AJ Oswald

Northwest corner tower of the first gallery of Angkor Wat. © Rugby471

Gateway of Angkor Wat. © Marcin Konsek

Itinerary


Monday-Tuesday, December 2-3, 2019 – HOME | HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON), VIETNAM
Wednesday, December 4 – HO CHI MINH CITY
Thursday, December 5 – HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARK)
Friday, December 6 – BEN TRE | TRA ON
Saturday, December 7 – CAN THO | HOA AN
Sunday, December 8 – GIENG ISLAND
Monday, December 9 – HONG NGU | PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
Tuesday, December 10 – PHNOM PENH
Wednesday, December 11 – ANGKOR BAN
Thursday, December 12 – KAMPONG CHAM | SIEM REAP
Friday, December 13 – ANGKOR | SIEM REAP
Saturday, December 14 – ANGKOR
Sunday, December 15 – SIEM REAP | HOME

View Detailed Itinerary

MONDAY–TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2-3, 2019 – HOME | HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival on December 3rd, transfer to the Park Hyatt Hotel. This evening is at leisure to rest or explore on your own. PARK HYATT SAIGON

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4 – HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON)
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s most economically dynamic city, and the streets are always abuzz with activity. During a motorcoach tour, drive through Chinatown and past the city’s best-known monuments—Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall, the Old Saigon Post Office, and the Presidential Palace. After lunch, take an excursion accompanied by a local expert to the Cu Chi tunnels, a vast underground network that hid thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas and Vietnamese villagers during the Vietnam War. This evening enjoy a festive welcome dinner. PARK HYATT SAIGON (B,L,D)

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 – HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARK)
Visit the Ben Thanh market, where anything and everything is for sale, including handicrafts, traditional clothing and textiles, and local food specialties. Embark the intimate and luxurious Mekong Princess, your home for the next seven days, and begin cruising the Mekong River. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 – BEN TRE | TRA ON
Today, cruise by sampan (a small wooden boat) through a channel lined with mangroves, our destination a coconut candy maker. After walking through a familyowned orchard, travel aboard horse-drawn carts to a local pier and board small boats to explore narrow creeks lined with Nipah palms. This afternoon enter an area of the Mekong Delta barely touched by tourism to visit Tra On and the Phuoc Hau pagoda. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 – CAN THO | HOA AN
Dock in Can Tho and explore by sampan the fascinating Cai Rang market, a feast for the senses and a boon for photographers. Weave in and out among floating watercraft loaded with produce and everything else the residents of the Mekong Delta need in their daily lives. Stop at a home factory to learn how instant noodles are made, and tour a family-owned orchard to see and savor exotic Asian fruits. In the afternoon continue to Hoa An, a small village known for its flowers and handicrafts. Visit the flower gardens and meet with local families, including weavers who make conical hats and mats. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 – GIENG ISLAND
Board sampans for a visit to a village on Gieng Island where local families make hundreds of sampans. Continue along a canal to a remote riverside area with duck farms, a tropical orchard, and monkey bridges. Then ride on xe lams to visit a Catholic church that was built in the 1870s. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9 HONG NGU | PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
At several family homes in Hong Ngu, a small island hamlet, observe residents weaving and embroidering traditional Khmer scarves. Visit a temple dedicated to a unique form of Buddhism called Hòa Hâo, which focuses on aiding the poor. Cross the border into Cambodia and continue upstream. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10 – PHNOM PENH
Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, retains vestiges of its French charm, including a riverfront corniche and some examples of French Colonial architecture. Ride along the riverfront aboard cyclos to the Silver Pagoda, home to an “Emerald Buddha” made of Baccarat crystal and a life-size Maitreya Buddha encrusted with diamonds. Stop by the National Museum for a comprehensive look at its spectacular collection of artifacts, excavated in Angkor and brought here for safekeeping. Examine the darker days of Cambodian history at the infamous Choeung Ek killing fields and Tuol Sleng, a Khmer Rouge prison. Back on board the Mekong Princess, enjoy a dance performance by children from a local orphanage. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 – ANGKOR BAN
Angkor Ban is a unique little village on the banks of the Mekong, one of the few that survived destruction under the Khmer Rouge regime. Centuries-old villages stand intact on stilts, while the bustle of local agricultural life swirls below. Enjoy a visit with a family in their home, and with schoolchildren in their classroom. Stop briefly at the local monastery before returning to the ship. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 – KAMPONG CHAM | SIEM REAP
Disembark the Mekong Princess in Kampong Cham and transfer to Siem Reap, the gateway to the magnificent complex at Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest religious monument in the world. Enjoy dinner on your own and an evening at leisure. PARK HYATT HOTEL (B,L)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 – ANGKOR | SIEM REAP
Spend an entire morning exploring the grandest of the temples, fabled Angkor Wat, a miniature universe carved in stone. Its central tower represents mythical Mt. Meru, home of the gods, and intricate carvings of deities and demons, graceful Apsaras (female spirits of the clouds and waters), and scenes of everyday life grace its corridors. In the afternoon, when the light is best, visit Ta Prohm, a silent and mysterious ruin shrouded in jungle vegetation. Dinner is again on your own this evening. PARK HYATT HOTEL (B,L)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 – ANGKOR
Early this morning visit Bakheng Temple, the perfect vantage point for a panoramic sunrise view over Angkor Wat and the surrounding plain. After a picnic breakfast, travel by elephant to Angkor Thom, once  an enormous walled city, to investigate the temple at its heart, the Bayon. Its 55 large and small towers are topped by carved heads, each one wearing a mysterious Mona Lisa smile. In the late afternoon, travel about Siem Reap by tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) on an art tour, visiting galleries and artisan workshops to gain an appreciation of the arts and crafts of the region. This evening enjoy a special farewell dinner and a performance of Khmer classical dance, often called Apsara dance. PARK HYATT HOTEL (B,L,D)

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15 – SIEM REAP | HOME
This morning transfer to the airport for return flights home, crossing the International Date Line and arriving the same day. (B)


OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR EXTENSION (November 29 – December 3, 2019)
Hanoi & Ha Long Bay
Begin your Southeast Asian experience with two nights in Hanoi, Vietnam’s leafy green, lake-studded capital. A panoramic tour will introduce you to Hanoi’s bestknown sights, including the Temple of Literature, the “Hanoi Hilton,” the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, and the modest “House on Stilts” in which this key figure in Vietnam’s independence movement lived for many years. Take a cyclo tour through the alleyways of the city’s charming historic quarter, and enjoy a delightful performance by traditional water puppets. Travel to the coast for an overnight cruise on a small luxury boat on Ha Long Bay (above), a mystical seascape of limestone islets, where you’ll explore caves with fantastic stalactite and stalagmite formations.

More detailed information and rates will be sent to confirmed participants.

Download the brochure for full details and the reservation form.  Call 800-748-6262  or email aia@studytours.org for questions and reservations.


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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